Careful selection of your trip maximizes your enjoyment, safety and successful completion. Study the gradings carefully to make sure you choose the trip which will challenge you, without putting you (as well as other members of the team including your guide) at undue risk.
To assist you in choosing a trek and to give you an idea of what you can expect, we have categorized our trips by their level of difficulty. Four aspects of each level are described, suitability, walking times, highest altitude, terrain type, and remoteness.
A) GRADE - Easy:
Suitable for most people of average fitness level.
1. Walking times: Transport by vehicle to various places of interest, then sightseeing on foot at each location.
2. Altitude: less than 2500m.
3. Terrain: sightseeing in cities and some optional day walks on well-travelled trails.
4. Remoteness: hotel and road based tour.
B) GRADE - Moderate:
Suitable for most people with an above average fitness level.
1. Walking times: 4 to 5 hours per day for up to 8 days
2. Altitude:up to 4000m.
3. Terrain: well-travelled trails through villages, some daily ascent and descent.
4. Remoteness: reasonable level of local infrastructure, including lodge accommodation.
C) GRADE- Challenging:
Suitable for most people with a reasonably high level of fitness.
1. Walking times: 5-6 hours per day for up to 14 days
2. Altitude: up to 5500m
3. Terrain: mostly following well-travelled trails, daily ascent and descent
4. Remoteness: reasonable level of local infrastructure, including lodge accommodation
D) Grade- Strenuous:
Suitable for the very fit people with hill walking experience.
1. Walking times: 6 to 8 hours per day (some longer days may reach 12 hours) for up to 17 days, including rest days.
2. Altitude: up to 5700m.
3. Terrain: well-travelled trails with rough and rocky sections. A significant amount of ascent and descent.
4. Remoteness: Includes remote areas, with little access to villages and local infrastructure.
E) Grade- Very Strenuous:
Suitable for the extremely fit people with physically and mentally prepared for a challenges in remote areas
1. Walking times: 6 to 10 hours per day (some longer days may reach 12 hours) for up to 25 days, including rest days.
2. Altitude: up to 6000m.
3. Terrain: less -travelled trails with rough and rocky sections. A significant amount of ascent and descent.
4. Remoteness: Includes remote areas, with no access to villages and local infrastructure.
We have grouped the expeditions into three categories: Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced. Within these categories, we use a two-tiered grading system, which combines the technical difficulty (1-5) and fitness requirements (A-E) required for each expedition. For example, Mera Peak is graded 2A, Island Peak is graded 2 B, but a combined climb of Mera and Island Peak together is graded 2C, because it requires more physical stamina.
For Introductory and Intermediate level expeditions, our Sherpa climbing guide will be there to support you every step of the way. You can learn the necessary mountaineering skills, and build on them. Advanced expeditions, are for competent mountaineers, who are ready to be fairly self sufficient on the mountain. You will still be accompanied by an expert Sherpa guide, and an experienced team providing logistical support.
For your own safety and enjoyment of your expedition, you need to be physically prepared. A fit person can walk 8km on a reasonable trail with a height gain of 600m with a 10kg rucksack in 2.5 hours or less. For any expedition, you should be able to better this, and be able to repeat it over several consecutive days.
If you are need help choosing a trip, please consult our experienced guides, who are happy to suggest which trips would be suitable for you.
Technical Difficulty Rating:
1 - This is an entry level climb. Low angle snow climbing or straightforward scrambling on rocks which may require basic use of ropes for beginners. Previous climbing experience is not necessary for this.
2 - This level is beyond the basic, with some glacier travel and low angle snow or ice slopes which require extended periods of roped climbing, ice axe and crampons. The descent will be challenging now. Some mountaineering experience is required.
3 - These are serious climbs which are likely to involve short sections of snow or ice up to 50 degrees and many pitches of serious rock climbing. Previous experience climbing on snow and ice is required. The difficulty can be complicated by weather problems.
4 - Hard routes with long, steep sections on snow and multiple short pitches of ice or low grade rock climbing. Besides the technical difficulty the route may be very exposed or face “points of no return" where you have to continue up, not to mention poor weather. Extensive climbing skills are required.
5 - The most difficult climbs in the world. Extremely dangerous pitches on steep ice or rock in extreme cold. These climbs are only for seasoned mountaineers with extreme mental and physical stamina to face sustained, high levels of objective danger with flawless technical ability.
A - Good Basic Fitness: eg. plays regular sports or avid hiker. Average rucksack weight: 6-8 kg.
B- Good cardio-vascular fitness: most people attain this with some training, by running, hiking, cycling and perhaps some gym work. Average rucksack weight: 8-12 kg.
C- Advanced cardio vascular fitness accompanied by physical toughness. Multi-day hiking while carry a heavy rucksack. Average rucksack weight: 12-18 kg.
D - As for 'C', but tougher. Climbs of this grade are exceptionally strenuous and some weight loss is inevitable. Train hard and take along some spare calories!
E - An extremely high level of all round fitness and toughness: Sustained hard physical effort at extreme altitudes and extreme temperatures requires mental and physical preparedness based on extensive experience. Comments for 'D' also apply. A person may suffer long-term fatigue after the trip.
8516m / 27,939ft
8167m / 26,795ft
6856m / 22,494ft
Everest Sout Col
8850m / 29,036ft
8201m / 26,906ft
Mera and Island Peak
6476m / 21,246ft
6186m / 20,296ft
7246m / 23,772ft
7043m / 23,107ft
6189m / 20,304ft
5663m / 18,579ft
6476m / 21,246ft